Bones of Contention
(Militia est vita hominis super terram. — Job)
Why in me, Sir, do you this battle wage
Of fire and ice, this war of flesh and ghost?
Why do opposites more fiercely rage
Unflagging tempers in me than in most
Men? Why cannot ghost be ghost, and bone
Bone? And why must I an exile be
From a world where spirit dwells alone
On cold and austere peaks of sanctity,
Or from the bone’s surrender to the sun
And sweet caress of a blue-and-green-tongued sea?
I thirst and shrivel in your tempering flame.
Give the miracle. Lord, thou thunder-three!
Grant the treaty, sign the triple Name.
See — my very prayer touched with a curse,
For the treaty only renders the breach worse.
Maintain your arms, defer your victory.
For I, should you bend near, could never see
You, Lord — such is the curse of night —
Nor ever love you should you cease to fight.
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